BACKGROUND: Pharmacy practice is evolving according to general health-care trends such as increased patient involvement and public health initiatives. In addition, pharmacists strive to find new professional roles. Clients' expectations of service encounters at pharmacies is an under-explored topic but crucial to understanding how pharmacy practice can evolve efficiently. OBJECTIVE: To identify and describe different normative expectations of the pharmacy encounter among pharmacy clients. METHODS: Q methodology, an approach to systematically explore subjectivity that retains complete patterns of responses and organizes these into factors of operant subjectivity. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-five regular prescription medication users recruited at Swedish community pharmacies and by snowballing. RESULTS: Seven factors of operant subjectivity were identified, and organized into two groups. Factors that emphasized the physical drug product as the central object of the pharmacy encounter were labelled as independent drug shopping; logistics of drug distribution; and supply of individual's own drugs. Factors that emphasized personal support as desirable were labelled competence as individual support; individualist professional relations, just take care of me; and practical health-care and lifestyle support. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The systematic Q-methodological approach yielded valuable insights into how pharmacy clients construct their expectations for service encounters. They hold differentiating normative expectations for pharmacy services. Understanding these varying viewpoints may be important for developing and prioritizing among efficient pharmacy services. Clients' expectations do not correspond with trends that guide current pharmacy practice development. This might be a challenge for promoting or implementing services based on such trends.